There’s nothing quite like watching your little one’s face light up as they meet their favorite Disney princess or get a hug from Mickey Mouse. While Disney is all about making magical moments for children, a Disney vacation with a toddler or infant can be intimidating for parents. We totally understand how overwhelming the crowds and planning can be, especially when your child is still so young. Have no fear! With a little preparation and a dose of Disney magic, you and your little one will have the most magical vacation ever. We’re sharing 20 handy tips for traveling to Disneyland® Resort with a baby or toddler.
1. Stay nearby. Staying close to the park is a must in case of emergency, meltdown, or naptime. (FYI: Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel is located about ½ a mile from Disneyland® Resort and offers free shuttle rides for extra convenience.)
2. Get an early start. Babies and toddlers are generally up early anyway, right? You might as well make the most of it by arriving at the park early and/or taking advantage of Magic Mornings for maximum Disney fun.
3. Use Rider Switch. This is a great option to make sure everyone who wants to enjoy an attraction can — even when a small child can’t. Rider Switch allows one supervising adult to wait with the child while others ride. Then, they’re allowed to switch roles with another adult without waiting in the full queue again.
4. Utilize Baby Care Centers. This is a must for any parent going to Disneyland® Resort, not just those with babies. These centers — located at the End of Main Street U.S.A at Disneyland® Park and next to Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop and across from The Bakery Tour in Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure® Park — have nursing rooms, changing rooms, feeding areas, bottle warmers, and so much more. Sometimes just a little bit of quiet and AC can help calm a fussy baby or toddler.
5. Bring your own stroller. Most parents tell us that a stroller is a lifesaver, and bringing your own is cheaper than renting one on-site. We also recommend attaching something recognizable to help your stroller stand out when it’s parked. Be sure to check out the Stroller FAQs before you go.
6. Book a Character Dining experience. If your little (or you) are especially excited about meeting characters, Character Dining is often worth the investment due to shorter lines and a less hectic environment. (Be sure to check our tips for memorable character experiences at Disneyland® Resort as well!)
7. Children under 3 get in free. Just a handy tip that many Disney newbies and first-timers aren’t aware of.
8. Pack plenty of snacks. Bringing your own treats has a number of benefits. You’ll save money by not buying the snacks on-site in the park and you’ll have a bigger variety of healthier options. If your child is a picky eater, bringing your own snacks and treats guarantees there is something they’ll eat without too much coaxing. And, as an added bonus, you won’t have to wait in long lines when your little one is already hungry and getting cranky.
9. Provide your contact information. Toddlers are quick and don’t always stay put. In case the worst happens and you get separated from your child, it’s good to have some type of identification on them. Toddlers (and even older kids) can have trouble verbalizing when they’re afraid or distraught. Many parents opt to have their child wear a bracelet or necklace with names, phone numbers, and other emergency contact information, or they use a sharpie to label on the child’s clothes. That way it’ll be easy for your child or Disney cast members to get in touch with you.
10. Dress them up. You’re at Disneyland® Resort, you might as well go all out. Disney t-shirts, mouse ears, or even full costumes are popular for youngsters and make for great photos. Be sure to check out the Disneyland® Resort dress code for all the details.
11. Don’t leave packing until the last minute. The more organized and ahead of the game you are, the better. Plus, you’re less likely to forget something important when you start the packing process early. Be sure to check out our Disneyland® Resort packing tips for additional insights.
12. Make autograph books ahead of time. Toddlers will love collecting character autographs, but it can be pricey to buy autograph books on-site. Making your own customized autograph books is a great way to get toddlers excited about the trip while saving money at the same time!
13. Have activities to preoccupy them while waiting in line. From their favorite stuffed animal to games on your mobile device to a rousing game of “I Spy,” keeping toddlers occupied while waiting in line is crucial. Think ahead and plan for some activities that will help entertain them.
14. Download the Disneyland app. The Disneyland Mobile App is crucial to helping your Disney vacation go smoothly for you and your family. You can check wait times, make reservations, and more. While you’re at it, check out our list of must-have apps for your Disneyland vacation too!
15. Measure your child. Know your toddler’s height before going to the park and compare it to the height requirements for Disneyland attractions. That way, you can strategically avoid rides that he or she can’t go on and avoid meltdowns and wasted time in line.
16. Get a button. If you or your youngster is celebrating a birthday at Disneyland® Resort or is a first-timer, you can get a complimentary button. You can find buttons inside at City Hall in Disneyland® Park or at Guest Services in Disney California Adventure® Park.
17. Invite help along. Infants and toddlers require constant care and vigilance. The more adults that are available to help out, the better. Consider inviting along grandparents, aunts and uncles, or friends to share in the magic — and offer a little extra assistance. That way, you can have a little breather and enjoy the vacation as well.
18. Use refillable water bottles. It’s hot and everyone will be walking and moving around a lot. Bringing a water bottle along is the best way to keep your toddler hydrated without having to spend a lot of extra money on beverages.
19. Prepare youngsters ahead of time. Toddlers will definitely have more fun and feel more relaxed if they’re familiar with the characters and attractions they’re seeing. In the months leading up to your vacation, expose them to some Disney movies they may not have seen yet, have Disney music singalongs and dance parties, and show them pictures or videos of the park to help get them excited about the vacation.
20. Pick a hotel with kid-friendly amenities. Stay at a hotel with special amenities and extras that your kids will love to keep the magic going after you leave the park. For example, little princesses and princes love our castle-themed rooms and storytime with our very own Princess Corinne.
Start Planning Your Magical Disneyland® Resort Vacation Today!
What are you waiting for? There’s no better time to visit the Happiest Place on Earth than right now — and all the fun starts right here at Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel. The experts at our Disney Desk are standing by to answer your questions and help you purchase your park tickets!
13 Tips for Making the Most of Your Time at Disneyland® Resort